Rotterdam to host zero emissions aviation collaboration

Commercial zero emissions flights could take off from Rotterdam following the signing of a collaboration agreement between ZeroAvia, Shell, Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Rotterdam the Hague Innovation Airport.


The participants will develop a concept of operations for hydrogen in airports and demonstration flights to European destinations by the end of 2024 and readying for commercial passenger flights by 2025.

To make the first hydrogen flight from Rotterdam, the team will investigate operation at the airport by developing on-the-ground infrastructure and procedures to satisfactorily pilot distribution, storage, and dispensing of hydrogen for aviation. 

“Having this consortium, including Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport and Shell, moves the ball a significant distance down the field towards our goal line of commercial operations,” Arnab Chatterjee, VP, Infrastructure, ZeroAvia, said in a statement. “There is still a lot of work to do, but with clear milestones and targets identified, the hard work really starts now towards delivering the infrastructure and exploring the protocols and standards required.”

The project targets supporting aircraft operations using gaseous hydrogen to fuel ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric ZA600 engines. For the demonstration flights the parties aim to establish routes to airports in Europe within 250 nautical mile radius of Rotterdam. This project will also target the development of aviation specific standards and protocols around safety, refuelling and hydrogen management.

Oliver Bishop, general manager Hydrogen at Shell, said: “This project and collaboration is a milestone as it enables a rapid decarbonisation of a hard-to-electrify sector such as aviation. It also offers the chance to support one of the first international zero-emission passenger routes. On top of that, it allows the opportunity to road test multi-fuel and multimodal fuelling operations in a live airport environment. This is a big step forward for hydrogen aviation.”

ZeroAvia’s testing of the ZA600 powertrain in flight is part of HyFlyer II, an R&D project supported in part by the UK government’s ATI programme. The project has also seen the further development of ZeroAvia’s Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) demonstrator alongside project partner EMEC, and separately ZeroAvia has developed a hydrogen refuelling pipeline at Cotswold Airport.